Top Chef DC Recap: Capitol Grill? Crapital Hill.


This is a Recap of Top Chef D.C. (Season 7), Episode 3, entitled “Capitol Grill”, originally airing June 30, 2010. This thing is full of more spoilers than those FAT KIDS IN WASHINGTON! (I always thought that sounded funnier than fat cats. But them too.)

Let’s get started. Hey there’s John! See you in the credits for the next fifteen months, John!

Back at the house, Kenny is reading a card – “Have faith, have hope, and have courage,” says Kenny’s girlfriend Juicy. Her name is “Juicy?” They glossed right over that. “Get with the 90s, Danny dude, that’s what names are now!” – Some Skateboarding Chameleon.

The rest of the contestanchefts are busy pairing off into random rivalries:

  • Angelo is sitting in a garden upset about Kenny’s performance at last week’s Judge’s Table.
  • Arnold is still mad about Kelly’s two-facedness during last week’s challenge.
  • Ed goes “I hate…I don’t know, Alex? He’s that dude, right? Yeah. Screw him.”
  • This week’s Quickfire Challenge: Make a pie. In honor of U.S. President Franklin PIE-rce? No, in honor of the upcoming Bravo show Top Chef: Just Desserts, which they have now teased in two out of three episodes of Top Chef: Not Just Desserts. When they announce the name of the show, the Bravo producers activate the electric kitchen floor and shock everyone into clapping for thirty seconds.

    After the jump, the Three Stooges wealthy opera lady walks in and gets hit by a pie and goes “Well I never, Top Chef!”:

    The chefs are all instantly worried by the dessert challenge, because they were all banking on this being the first Top Chef season where no one has to make a dessert ever. Now the only thing they’re banking on is crappy pies, and that’s a bad place to keep your bank money.

    The guest judges for the Quickfire are pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini and Gail “Why does Padma go so far out of her way to always call me ‘Lovely'” Simmons, the hosts of Top Chef: Just Desserts on Bravo! They’re here to find out which chefs will give them their just desserts, and which chefs will be given their just desserts. They still aren’t sure which one is the bad one.

    The chefs run into some pie-roblems, but fortunately for everyone, Tracey doesn’t know how to put food in things or operate ovens, and just kind of wings it, like you always can in baking. At this point, it’s pretty clear that Tracey isn’t actually a chef, just someone who wandered into the Bravo casting room to show off her “F**k Ohio” bandanna, and a maverick producer saw her and was like “You’ve…got…IT!”, as all maverick producers do. She won’t last much longer in this Recap.

    Elsewhere, Arnold describes being a pastry chef as being like a “mad scientist,” because you can’t tweak things as you go, you have to measure out beforehand the exact amounts of bubbly green liquid and lightning bolts to bring your monster to life. Elder Stateswoman Lynne proclaims “I’m a teacher, so I don’t need recipe to do desserts,” which I assumed was a classic Top Chef arrogant kiss of death, but it turns out we don’t see her again for the rest of the episode, so I guess she did alright.

    The judges blow through the contestants at a rate of about two words per three chefs (there really are a lot of human beings still on this television programme), but manage to cause back-to-back super-awkward chef reactions:

    Kelly and Stephen are the runners-up, and Kenny wins his first challenge of the season for his “Bananas Foster Pie with Currants & Chinese Five Spice,” which looks awesome. He then cuts it up real fast and everyone goes “KEEENNNNYYYY!!!” and he shrugs.

    Elimination Challenge!!! Footage of that celery gettin’ chopped and blender noise!!!

    For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs will have to prepare a picnic lunch at Mount Vernon for a bunch of D.C. interns, so they’ll have to balance the difficulty of preparing food outdoors with the difficulty of dealing with mostly insufferable Type-A people who go out on Thursday nights still dressed up with loosened ties so it looks like they just came from work even though they had more than enough time to change at home. Things are finally startin’ to get Washingtoney!

    Alex is excited for the challenge, declaring “I’ve never been to Mount Vernon, and I’ve never taken advantage of an intern!” After Alex said this, I took the liberty of inventing Megan’s Law and traveling back in time and making it so it has existed. Wow. We’ll eliminate your molestiomonials soon enough, but in the meantime we’ve got bigger bandannas to fry improperly.

    More tension arises in the kitchen when Andrea takes a roast out of an oven and doesn’t tell anyone, because she put her name on that oven. Tom asks her what the commotion was about, and she’s like “Oh, you know, they’re just upset that I used the Top Chef Oven Name Rule.” Tom’s like, “That’s never been a thing, why are you describing it like it’s a thing?” Andrea’s like, “Whatever, I used to have a coke and pills addiction.” Whaaat? You’re supposed to win us over by telling us you’re cooking for your cancer-stricken mother who is also super gay — since when did “coke addiction” become a random colorful factoid people just toss out casually? It ends up working, though, and Andrea finishes in the Top 4 when her ribs OD on flavor.

    The chefs prepare their food, then set up grills at Mount Vernon for some good old-fashioned George Washington style picnicking. They better have to chop down cherry trees at some point this season. Sidenote: How dumb is that story? Back to regularnote: Alex is happy with his pork butt, proclaiming, “I’d want to eat the ass out of this pig all day.” He is now on the Megan’s Law list for pigs.

    Some non usual suspects are scuffling, but again, Tracey sets the suck-bar really high by failing to case her sausage in time and deciding to just grill what she has and call it a burger. Everything else becomes moot at this point, and Bravo courteously adds a “Countdown Til Tracey Elimination” clock in the corner. According to the DVR-Buster segment, Tracey also believes she is psychic, meaning she’s just as bad at cooking as she is at knowing which abilities are imaginary. Though she did seem to know she was getting eliminated this week, but that was probably more her knowing her terrible food was terrible.

    The Top 4: Angelo, Andrea, Ed, Arnold

    Masters alum Jonathan Waxman and the regular judges absolutely lay into peoples’ food this week, ripping on just about every dish aside from a standout Top 4. Angelo makes another return to the Winner’s Circle, but he’s joined by two people from last week’s Bottom 4 in Andrea and Ed to shake things up a bit, as well as Arnold, who’s been mostly coasting by in the middle. Arnold ends up scoring the big W for his “Sesame Lamb Meatball with Tabouli Salad and Gazpacho”, even though Angelo shockingly exclaims that Andrea’s ribs were better than his own dish [Bravo Producer: “You have to be the villain! Add ‘you f**khole!’ “]

    The Bottom 4: Tracey, Stephen, Kevin, Timothy

    The judges’ critiques just got more and more insulting the longer Judge’s Table went on, eventually crossing over into personal offendedness, with Tom telling Tracey “If that’s what you call Italian food, that’s almost insulting to Italians! Me being one!” He also slams Kevin’s rice and beans, saying “If that’s what you call Puerto Rican food, that’s almost insulting to Puerto Ricans! J-Lo being one!”

    The up-and-down Stephen saves himself with a terrific defense of his bacon-wrapped fish, telling the people in the waiting room [I transcribed this directly]:

    “They thought it wasn’t realistic that somebody would wrap a fish like that with bacon and grill it at a picnic. I’m like, dude, you know, like, it’s a picnic, what do, you know, like – hello?”

    Hard to argue with that airtight, Vulcanesque logic.

    In the end, a personally insulted Tom actually says “All in all, it wasn’t a good day for American chefs.” He then adds, “But the American chef who this day was even worse for was Tracey.” The show’s easiest punching bag is sent packing, and with good cause.

    I’m still thinking the Final 3 is gonna be Angelo, Kenny, and Kelly, with Kenny taking it, but we’ve only scratched the surface on the inevitable Reality Show Weeks 3-10 period, where the only drama is to see the precise order in which the contestants who have no shot at winning are let go. At least next week’s episode is a double-elimination. Seeya, Alex! Don’t molest your knives on your way out!

    Episode 3 thoughts? Anyone not agree that Tracey was the obvious choice to go home? Who’s the next to go? Early Finale Predictions? Leave ‘em all in the comments.

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